This week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Second Amendment is an individual right and concluded that the District of Columbia’s ban on guns in the home is unconstitutional. According to the majority opinion, "[T]he phrase 'the right of the people'...leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual."
Take that, you illegitimate spawn of the devil gun grabbing Brady scum.
Now while I've got the knife in between their ribs, let's twist it a bit. Oh hell, let's twist it a lot. Direct quote from the majority opinion:
"To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Anti-federalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment's civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia."
In one wonderful paragraph, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has acknowledged the following:
- The Second Amendment secures an individual right
- The right existed before there was a US Constitution
- That the right to keep and bear arms "was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad)" (KA-CHING!)
- There is a civic purpose for a militia
- That the Federalists incorporated the Second Amendment to make the Constitution more acceptable to the Anti-Federalists (Another KA-CHING!)
- And last but far from least, that the right is not contingent either the existence of a militia or an individuals enrollment in a militia
Now before we all paint ourselves blue and do a Kim du Toit happy dance in our front yards, let's throw some cold water on ourselves. First, bet your life that this will be appealed to the Supreme Court. The battle is not over by a long shot, and the Supremes would rule against us on appeal. I think it unlikely, but it's possible, and we shouldn't dismiss that.
There is also the fact that even if we win at a Federal level, the fight will have to be carried on in the many States that do not have something similar to the wording of the Second Amendment in their Constitution. The nature of those fights and how they will be fought can't be seen at this point.
And of course, there are those who would, through participation in international treaties, such as the UN Convention on Small Arms, attempt to end-run the Constitution.
The fight continues, but we are winning. Take a minute and pat yourselves on the back.
(Edit 3/10/2007 1139: David Hardy, who is much more up on the legal system than I, has this to say.)